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Freed by God's Grace, Ephesians 2

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Imagine being a prisoner with a life sentence. Then some rich billionaire goes before the judge, pleads your case and pays all your fines. You are free! That is sort of what it is like when a person receives spiritual life by the grace of God. Now that Christ paid your price and you are freed from your sins, will you be accepted in the society of the church, or are you not good enough? This is the subject for today's Bible study

As we learned in our previous lessons, Ephesus was a mixed city of Jews and Gentiles. This created a lot of tension between the two groups in the church. This was one of the reasons for Paul's second and third missionary journeys - to encourage the Gentile believers, who were being told that believing was not enough; they needed to observe the Jewish Law and traditions. Were the Gentile believers accepted by God as the Jewish Christians were? How do we know? Is there any room for pride? Are the Gentile Christians on equal standing with the Jewish Christians? Those are the major questions for our study today.

Read Chapter 2. In your opinion and simply stated, how is it divided? Pay attention especially to past and present tense references.

Answer 1


Note that in Ephesians 2:1 The subject moves from Him (in Chapter 1) to You, We, and Us . The Sovereign will of our heavenly Father God planned and provided salvation in Him (Christ) for his glory and our benefit (chapter 1). Now the focus in chapter 2 changes to his readers: you Gentiles and we Jews

What was the former state of the Gentiles and Jews, and in particular the Gentiles? Ephesians 2:1-3, 11-12

Answer 2


The words, "But God " are an interruption that show his rich mercy and grace to all of us, both Jews and Gentiles vs 4-10. Notice that all the terms are in the past tense:"loved, have been saved, raised, seated, have been saved, created, prepared beforehand," What three things did God do because of his great love for us?

Answer 3


But now (the second interruptive) in verse 13 introduces what you are in Christ and the privileges you have. What are they? verses 13-22 (key words: are, have been)

Answer 4


What four ways in 2:14-18 did Paul emphasize that the two (Jew and Gentile) have been united?

Answer 5


Is this replacement theology - is the church, then, the New Testament Israel? No. This is a new body, a new entity with both Jews and Gentiles, a spiritual temple or church built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief cornerstone, not Abraham, Moses, or David. God still has a program for Israel (see Romans 9-11)


Lessons to Live by: (If you are the leader, ask for members' input first)

Today's Bible memory verse:

Ephesians 2:8-9 " For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-- and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God--
not by works, so that no one can boast." (NIV)

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A1: The subjects of Ephesians 2 might simply be stated as

•  What we were without Christ

•  What we are with Christ and the privileges that we have.

A2: The former state of the Gentiles (non-Jewish people)

•  You [Gentiles]were dead in your trespasses and sins (faults and offenses against God and man)

•  You formerly walked according to the ruler of the kingdom of the air. Who is this ruler? How is he described? (cf: 1Jn. 5:19; 2Co.4:4)

•  We, too, [Gentiles and Jews] formerly lived in the lusts of the flesh and mind. All were guilty of sins. No one is better than anyone else

•  Formerly Gentiles (not a respected people by the Jews, less than a dog)

•  Were separated from Christ

•  Excluded

•  Were Strangers

•  Having no hope and without God

The former state of all of us, Jews and non-Jews

  • lived among the disobedient
  • satisfied our own cravings according to our carnal nature and and following its desires and thoughts.
  • we were by nature objects of wrath [God's wrath].

A3: 1. He made us alive 2. He raised us up 3. He seated us in the heavenly places. This was all an act of God's grace. We are his workmanship, we were made by the hand of God as a masterpiece.


What You Are in Christ

•  Have been brought near

•  Peace with God, Jews and Gentiles

•  Equal access to God

•  Fellow citizens of the saints

•  Part of God's household

•  You are being built together (Jew and Gentile) into a dwelling of God in the Spirit.

A5: Four ways in which Jews and Gentiles are united

1. two are made one

2. one new man created out of the two

3. in this one body...both

4. both have one Spirit.

Lessons to Live by:

  • We have been given the grace of God, and though we do not deserve it in any way, we Gentiles are on the same standing as the Jews.
  • Salvation is by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, not our own works. All believers, no matter what their ethnicity, are saved by grace through faith (more...).
  • We should not think that we are better or worse than other believers. We are in one body, the church. We are fellow citizens in heaven with the same rights and privileges.
  • The church does not replace Israel, we are part of a new body of believers, the church.

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